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LONG BLOG

Why I'll Never Build (or Buy) a Gaming Rig

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As I've gotten older, the time I'm willing to dedicate to gaming has continued to shrink. There was a point when I'd regularly comment on sites like Dtoid, read strategy guides and walkthroughs, grind through games on the hardest difficulty level, and spend hours hunting for absurd achievements and collectibles to get 100% competition. There was also a time when I had the patience for PC gaming.

With the announcement of Nvidia's new Geforce 10 Series (also known as "Pascal") and the rumors swirling around hardware revisions for the PS4 and XB1, I've seen a lot of people on Dtoid and elsewhere make statements to the extent of "this is why I'm a PC gamer" or "this is why I'm building a new gaming rig". As if hardware revisions and peripherals for dedicated game systems hasn't been a thing since the '90s, or that PC gaming is somehow immune to planned obsolesce and the need to buy new hardware.

I got a laptop for college years back, and intentionally sprung the extra cash to get a dedicated GPU for some light gaming. It wasn't my first laptop, or the first computer I bought or upgraded with gaming in mind, but my experience with it was largely the same: some games worked on first boot, most didn't, and with some time I managed to get the bulk of them running in some capacity. But it was never a smooth (or quick) experience. Eventually, that laptop crapped out and it's since been replaced by an ultraportable I had no intention of using for gaming.


My hope for a number of years was to either build or buy a mid-range gaming rig, slide it in my entertainment center, and use it to play my ever growing library of Steam games. I had gotten them all on the cheap (about $5 apiece), ranging from the semi-recent to the classic, and at present that library sits at over 150 titles. Along with my dedicated consoles, I figured it'd give me the best of both worlds. Then I bought my Xbox One and... well that never happened. And now? I don't know if it ever will.

See, I bought my XB1 primarily for the exclusives and to play online with my friends. I plan to buy a PS4 this year for the same reason, and split my third party purchases between the two. But the reason I got my XB1 when I did? Backward compatibility. My all digital 360 library sits at 30 titles so far, and has grown every month as the catalog is updated. I've gotten them all for around $5 apiece (like Steam), or for "free" on Games with Gold. And all of these games just... work. I download them, I play them, the online and DLC are still there, and that's it. No hassle. No stress. I just play.

And it hit me: why would I go through the hassle of PC gaming to do what I'm already doing, stress free, on my Xbox? Forget the fact that a mid-sized pre built rig would cost twice what my XB1 did. Forget the fact that building a system in that form factor would take a massive time investment just to select the right power supply, cooling system, and cabling so it wouldn't crap out on me (and even then it was no guarantee). The hassle of getting shit to work, especially older titles? All the full screen, wide screen, and resolution issues? The lack of controller compatibility (I like to game on my couch, sue me)? All the anti-piracy bullshit that gets forced on my system to run in the background and can never be removed? The fact that it's 2016 and neither AMD nor Nvidia has gotten its shit together on driver updates?

I'm just tired of it. I don't have the patience for this shit anymore. I'm too old to go searching through Steam forums just to get a damn game to work properly. No amount of mods, no Steam sales, no hardware upgradeability will ever make this hassle worth it for me. And every new game? Yea, still coming out on consoles, even if I can't run it in 4K at 120FPS. There's too much shit in my life I need to worry about for me to add troubleshooting games to that list -- the thing I'm supposed to enjoy as an escape for my daily stressors.

I guess my point with this rant is this: PC gaming isn't for everyone. It's not. It's really, really, really fucking not. It's not a "Master Race", it's not the objectively superior way to play games, it's not any better than consoles or handhelds. It just is. It's just different. If you like to play your games on this platform, great. But please stop pretending like it's the fucking end-all, be-all for the medium. It couldn't be further from the truth. I simply don't have the patience for it anymore, and I know I'm not alone in this.

So let's take a second to acknowledge this before the next news story about a graphics card or the "Playstation Neo" goes up and the comments inevitably devolve into a pissing match over why PC gaming is "teh greatest".

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About ctg867one of us since 2:47 AM on 11.29.2013

I'm a dude who plays games and comments about stuff. Been on Dtoid since the Jim Sterling days (2010-ish), though this account's a bit newer than that. Don't go on the FP anymore, but I'll throw the occasional post up from time to time.

I also stream on Twitch sometimes, if you're interested:

https://www.twitch.tv/ctg867